Honeybee covered in pumpkin pollen. (Photo: John Kimbler)
Computer scientists look at bees' dance moves as a model for a better system of web servers. Living on Earth's Annie Jia reports.
CURWOOD: It’s Living on Earth. I’m Steve Curwood. Coming up: non-native plants threaten to take over. But first this Note on Emerging Science from Annie Jia.
[Sweet Inspiration music]
JIA: Bees give us many things. Honey, stings – even inspiration for Hollywood B movies. But a better internet? That’s what one group of scientists is devising, thanks to these busy workers—or rather, dancers.
[Science note music]
When bees find new honey, they dance. Their jigging, however, is not for celebrating – it’s to tell their hivemates about the discovery. Bees use boogying to communicate the quality of each flower patch, and with this knowledge they fluidly shift their workforce as nectar supplies change.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology realized the internet faces a similar challenge as bees. A limited number of web servers provide processing power to many websites, whose traffic constantly changes – just like a limited number of bees collect nectar from many flower patches.
Another upgrade, inspired by bees that stay home on cloudy days when flowers aren’t blooming, would turn off the power to idle servers. This could cut energy use by 20%.
Staying home? Dancing? Sweeeeeet.
That’s this week’s note on emerging science. I’m Annie Jia.
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